1988 FORD MUSTANG CHP CAR BACKGROUND
As engines grew smaller and cars became slower in the late 70s and early 80s, it became difficult for police agencies to find cars that were fast enough to do high-speed pursuit duty. The California Highway Patrol asked Ford to come up with a suitable car. The Fox-body Mustang with a 5.0 V8 was the answer. Light, agile, decent handling, and plenty of power (at least for the day). Whether to accommodate this new market, or to create it, Ford wisely pieced together the ‘Special Service Package’ or SSP starting in 1982 and running through the 1993 model year, when the Fox-body platform was retired, during which time around 15,000 were produced for 60 different government and law enforcement agencies. Only such government entities could buy them new from Ford, and many were custom-ordered to fit the needs of that department, or the type of work it would be doing. During this era, Ford took full advantage of the publicity with an ad campaign with the tagline “This Ford chases Porches for a living”.
SSP PACKAGE ON 1988 FORD MUSTANG CHP CAR
The SSP package could only be ordered by law enforcement, it was not available to the retail public. It was only available on the hardtop body style, because this was the lightest and most rigid structure. The SSP Package included an engine oil cooler, silicone hoses with aircraft-style hose clamps, a transmission fluid cooler (on automatic transmission-equipped cars), 135-amp heavy duty alternators that were both internally- and externally-regulated, a 2-piece VASCAR speed cable turning a certified calibrated 140mph speedo, a reinforced floorpan and full-size spare tire. This 1988 Ford Mustang CHP Car was part of a special classic police car display at the Pacific Coast Dream Machines show in 2015.
ABOVE: These the 15-inch “10-hole” Mustang alloy wheels. These were blacked out, which may or may not have been original.
BELOW: The interior was loaded up with cop gear, usually by a local contractor or the police department’s own repair shop.
A DISPLAY OF CLASSIC POLICE CARS
These photos were taken at the 2016 Pacific Coast Dream Machines car show/air show in Half Moon Bay CA. Every year this club shows up with all their old cop cars. These Mustangs are always popular, but they also have the big Dodge Polaras from the 60s and going back further than that.
1988 Ford Mustang CHP Car SPECIFICATIONS
Production, ’88 Coupe
Production, ’88 Hatchback
Production, ’88 Convertible
Production, Special Service
Price when new (MSRP)
Tires GT ENGINE:
302cid/5.0L OHV V8
15.4 US gal
Rack & pinion
15″ X 7″
225hp @ 4200rpm
Modified strut, coils, sway bar
4-link, coils, sway bar
Power-assist, 15.3:1 ratio